Applied Sports Science newsletter – September 30, 2021

Applied Sports Science news articles, blog posts and research papers for September 30, 2021


MLB: Marcus Semien, Whit Merrifield aim to play all 162 games

Yahoo Sports, Hannah Keyser from

Marcus Semien guessed Whit Merrifield. Merrifield, for his part, guessed Semien. They were both right.

As baseball’s 2021 regular season nears the finish line, only two players — of the nearly 1,500 who have put on a big-league uniform this year — have appeared in all of their team’s games. Two players, in other words, who are on pace for 162. And if you think that doesn’t matter — just a quirk or a fluke or a bit of incidental trivia — consider that they’re each apparently keeping close enough tabs on the situation to correctly identify the one other guy in their tiny cohort.

“A lot of guys don’t anymore. A lot of teams are all about their load management recovery, similar to what the NBA has done,” Semien said earlier this month.

Is Tom Brady Just Going to Play Forever?

The Ringer, NFL Show, Kevin Clark from

Kevin talks to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer and PFF’s Sam Monson about Tom Brady’s reign, how long he can keep it going, and how the Tampa Bay QB stays dominant [audio, 47:20]

For Miami’s Jaylen Waddle, the NFL learning curve continues

Associated Press, Tim Reynolds from

Jaylen Waddle is getting used to the differences between college football and the NFL. In the pros, everybody is fast. And football as a profession demands much more time than the few-hours-a-day commitment that was built around college classes.

Another change from college to now: At Alabama, he never was part of a losing streak.

Bucks committed to team chemistry despite less than full vaccination

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jim Owczarski from

The last two seasons have put a tremendous strain on NBA teams and the practices of team building and creating chemistry – from the isolated “bubble” format to end the 2019-20 campaign to the strict COVID-19 protocols that lasted throughout the 2020-21 season.

Through those seasons, however, players, coaches and other team personnel went through it all together. Everyone was subject to the same structure of testing and home and road protocols, and even if the rules didn’t allow for specific activities, everyone worked around it. Shared experiences can create a bond, even if it’s not happening in close contact to one another.

But by pushing the gas pedal toward a full 82-game schedule this season, the league has put an obstacle in the way of teams truly coming together by reportedly placing severe restrictions on unvaccinated players.

Ellen Fokkema made Dutch history by playing for a men’s team: ‘I hope I won’t be the last’

ESPN FC, Tom Hamilton from

… In May 2021, the KNVB (Dutch Football Association) announced a change in its eligibility rules — thanks to Fokkema’s perseverance, passion and talent — that would allow women to play in senior men’s matches. While mixed football is allowed at the youth level and in “category B” amateur teams, she’d previously not been allowed to play at a higher level for a men’s team. But that all changed when Fokkema was given the nod by her coach Janco Croes and walked on to the pitch in front of around 150 spectators to make football history.

Fokkema is used to playing alongside and against men; she has the scars on her leg to prove it. She looks at areas where she could use her nous and speed to get an advantage, just like her hero, Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong. “I play smart, otherwise I’ll never win, that’s biologically determined,” she told ESPN.

Flipped learning: What is it, and when is it effective?

The Brookings Institution, Patricia Roehling and Carrie Bredow from

… Flipped learning is an increasingly popular pedagogy in secondary and higher education. Students in the flipped classroom view digitized or online lectures as pre-class homework, then spend in-class time engaged in active learning experiences such as discussions, peer teaching, presentations, projects, problem solving, computations, and group activities. In other words, this strategy “flips” the typical presentation of content, where class time is used for lectures and example problems, and homework consists of problem sets or group project work. (See
Roehling, 2018, for information on how to construct and implement flipped learning.)

Flipped learning is not simply a fad. There is theoretical support that it should promote student learning.

We’ve teamed up with @yougotmojo to empower coaches, expand access to sport, and elevate the experience through game-changing research.

Twitter, Aspen Sports & Society from

Every player, coach, team, and family deserves the best experience in youth sports.

The evolution of sports science

Cyclist magazine (UK) from

Sports science is synonymous with cycling, and each race win, product release or training technique will have been influenced by some level of research and analysis in the core scientific pillars of chemistry, physics and biology. But it hasn’t always been this way.

Go back 30 years and the riders and coaches of the professional peloton were only just getting to grips with real-time power output. Go back another 30 years and training and racing was based around the rudimentary equation of more training miles = more chance of winning.

Here, we’ll take you on a journey through the evolution of sports science within cycling, and what the future holds for the average rider.

Study: women’s hearts respond differently to marathon training than men’s

Canadian Running Magazine, Brittany Hambleton from

… After studying the hearts of all the participants, the researchers found that women who have completed multiple marathons do not have reduced left ventricle function or aortic stiffness compared to male marathoners or female recreationally active athletes (both of which are good things). Interestingly, they appear to have better ventricular-vascular coupling compared to the other test groups, which means their hearts are more mechanically efficient after undergoing a marathon training cycle. In other words, women’s hearts may respond better to marathon training than men’s.

The reason for this is unclear, but the researchers believe it could have something to do with the estrogen levels in female athletes.

Criterion Validity of an Automated Method of Detecting Live Play Periods in Basketball

Frontiers in Sports & Active Living journal from

This study aimed to develop an automated method to detect live play periods from accelerometry-derived relative exercise intensity in basketball, and to assess the criterion validity of this method. Relative exercise intensity (% oxygen uptake reserve) was quantified for two men’s semi-professional basketball matches. Live play period durations were automatically determined using a moving average sample window and relative exercise intensity threshold, and manually determined using annotation of video footage. The sample window duration and intensity threshold were optimised to determine the input parameters for the automated method that would result in the most similarity to the manual method. These input parameters were used to compare the automated and manual active play period durations in another men’s semi-professional match and a women’s professional match to assess the criterion validity of the automated method. The optimal input parameters were a 9-s sample window and relative exercise intensity threshold of 31% oxygen uptake reserve. The automated method showed good relative (ρ = 0.95–0.96 and ICC = 0.96–0.98, p < 0.01) and absolute (median bias = 0 s) agreement with the manual method. These findings support the use of an automated method using accelerometry-derived relative exercise intensity and a moving average sample window to detect live play periods in basketball. [full text]

Can healthy people who eat right and exercise skip the COVID-19 vaccine? A research scientist and fitness enthusiast explains why the answer is no

The Conversation, Richard Bloomer from

I’m a fitness enthusiast. I also adhere to a nutrient-dense, “clean” eating program, which means I minimize my sugar intake and eat a lot of whole foods for the purpose of optimizing my health.

You might wonder how effective such a diet and exercise plan would be in the fight against COVID-19, since some have suggested – without supporting evidence – that vaccination may be unnecessary if a detailed wellness lifestyle is closely followed.

As a research scientist who has studied nutrition for close to 20 years, I have watched the wellness community’s response to the COVID-19 vaccines with great interest. While eating right can favorably impact the immune system, it is not reasonable to expect that nutrition alone will defend against a potentially life-threatening virus.

Everton spending ‘vast sums of money’ as injury crisis deepens – Dinnery

Football Insider, Ben Dinnery from

… No team in the Premier League currently has more players in the treatment room than the Toffees.

But Dinnery claims that elite clubs such as Everton have the resources available to manage the string of absences.

“There are vast sums of money involved,” he told Football Insider correspondent Adam Williams.

Arsenal and Barcelona among Europe’s youngest teams – CIES report

ESPN FC, Toe Poke, Chris Wright from

The CIES Football Observatory’s latest report has looked into the youngest teams playing right across world football, and it makes for good reading for Arsenal and Barcelona fans.

Specifically, the Swiss number crunchers’ data ranks teams from 72 top divisions worldwide according to the average age of their lineups fielded in league fixtures so far this season, combined with the percentage of minutes given to players yet to turn 21 during those games.

Relation Between Scouting Combine and Game Performance Among Defensive National Players in the Canadian Football League

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research from

The objective of this study was to examine the relation between fitness testing and draft order on professional performance of defensive national players in the Canadian Football League. A retrospective analysis (2006-2019) was completed for all subjects at the National Scouting Combine (NSC) and included height, body mass, 40 yard (38 m) dash, bench press, vertical jump, broad jump, and the shuttle run. A compiled variable for all NSC results was derived by calculating averaged Z-scores (Zavg). Multiple regression analyses revealed that the draft order was significantly predicted by the 40 yard dash and Zavg for the defensive linemen, Zavg for the linebackers, and the broad jump for the defensive backs. The broad jump and the 40 yard dash were significant predictors of total and special teams tackles per game for the defensive linemen. The draft order significantly predicted games played and defensive tackles per game, whereas the broad jump predicted total tackles per game for the linebackers. None of the NSC results or draft order significantly predicted defensive back league performance. The findings suggest that NSC testing can provide low-to-moderate levels of predictability for future performance in national-categorized defensive linemen and linebackers.

Theory of Transfer Fees – Slouching with mixed success toward a semi-coherent framework

Substack, Absolute Unit newsletter, Tiotal Football from

After the last post detoured into a meditation on the nature of soccer, measurement and what comes after, I would love to return to the “core” Absolute Unit cycle, where we were using a corporate finance analogy to explore a theoretically sound player recruitment process in a front office. As I recall, we had projected a given player’s contributions to team goal difference mimicking the way a valuation analyst would go about valuing a company in the business world, starting with historical accounting records (soccer data), adding in the unit of account, and then making pro-forma adjustments and applying other factors to take into account realities we understand about the sport.

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